Patrick O'Connor - NIU - Foreign Languages & Literatures

People

Patrick O'Connor


Patrick O'Connor

MA, Illinois State University, Spanish and French
BA, Illinois State University, Spanish
BA, Illinois State University, Philosophy
Illinois Teacher Certification, Northern Illinois University
Cambridge CELTA, International House, Budapest

In my early days as a student I always thought about how great it would be to know another language, but I thought I had no “talent” for languages because they didn’t come easy to me at first. Later, just for fun, I began to learn some French on my own; and then I decided to travel to France for awhile after getting laid off from my office job in 2001. During my four-month stay in Rambouillet, I had an incredible time and many unforgettable experiences while meeting great people from all over the world.

Suddenly, I found myself getting into conversations entirely in French with local people in cafés and pubs, and even giving directions to lost French people who were visiting the town where I was staying. This fluency was something that had seemed unthinkable to me just a few months earlier. Oddly enough, though, knowing two languages no longer seemed like a big deal to me when I compared myself to many of the Europeans whom I had met. So, when the money ran out and I had to go back home, I decided to learn Spanish as well.

Now, a few years and trips abroad later I find myself teaching Spanish and sharing my enthusiasm with my students. There would be no greater honor for me as a teacher than to know that a former student of mine is taking the same plunge into a new language and culture by traveling abroad. Through my own travels, I have spent several weeks to several months in countries like France, Mexico, Costa Rica, Budapest and Quebec, Canada. Along the way, I’ve met some incredible people and I’ve vastly expanded my perception of the world.

Although I have been traveling far less these days, I enjoy reading great works of Spanish, Spanish-American and French literature, as well as keeping in touch with friends around the world. Professionally and personally, learning a language truly opens many doors in your life.

E-mail Patrick O'Connor
Watson Hall 310
(815) 753-6458